Randall – Collecting MetroCards

From today’s NYTimes (8/31/08):
On MetroCards’ Flip Side, Art Exhibits That Catch Collectors’ Eyes

5 responses to “Randall – Collecting MetroCards

  1. Harley Spiller, who is mentioned in this article, is an interesting guy. He works at the Franklin Furnace Archives (an important no longer active Alternative Space in New York that hosted a lot of performance art and held a massive artist book library). He also maintains a hyperactive personal collecting practice – with a particularly huge collection of Mr. T memorabilia, Chinese Take Out Menus, and record player tone arms. He’d be a great person to return to, or for someone to write about, at some point during this class.

    Here’s his personal website:


  2. dilettanteventures

    Funny, I had his site tagged in delicious, but didn’t connect him with this article. For more Mr. T see here. That exhibition shares the name with one Spiller participated in, but he’s not included in it.

  3. I really hadn’t really noticed any specific designs of Chicago CTA cards until I purchased a “crosstown classic” or Cubs vs. Sox transit card just earlier this year out of a machine on my daily commute. I’d scan and post it, except it looks like shite because its been swiped so many times and quite worn. Could be part of a Cubs or Sox memoribilia collection, too, ya know. A quick trip thru my wallet also finds an old “normal” CTA transit card (also very worn), and my shiny new UIC CTA U-Pass, replete with my own goofy mugshot.

  4. A quick search reveals a Chicago CTA farecard collection here (recent crosstown classic not pictured, nor is there an example of a U-Pass):


    As an aside, CTA farecard enthusiasts might enjoy this machinima I produced in May:


  5. I feel like this quote definitely applies to the metro card collection and also to Harvey Spiller. After looking at the Inspector Collector website, I’m sure that listening to his facts regarding his objects would be a worthwhile supplement to looking at the objects themselves.

    “Indeed, if there is an overriding principle of private collecting, it is that the collector, establishing a different order of things, enjoys the fact or the fantasy of wresting authority away from institutions and even from that thing we call “culture,” establishing a different system of value and meaning. The collection becomes the source of specialized knowledge-about Venetian glass, or baseball cards, or swords, or Barbie dolls, or stamps. And the collector can claim some mastery, some exhilarating expertise. Collectors collect more than objects; they collect the knowledge (however pedestrian or profound) that empowers them to take pleasure in those objects and to take advantage of someone else’s ignorance. More than any mere consumer, the collector lives for the thrill of the bargain because the bargain is the theatrical mark of a knowledge both superior and secret. ” from the Collecting Mania reading.

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